Police are well aware of the power of social media. There are plenty of examples of police departments around the country attempting to shut down citizens who photograph arrests and confrontations, concerned about what those photographs might capture.
When an ACLU spokesperson declared that "Texas is really the outlier" when it comes to legislation on domestic drone usage, she wasn't joking. That's what advocacy and policy strategist Allie Bohm told Fox News about the law that went into effect on September 1st, and compared to the most of the other states that have laws regarding the use of drones, Texas' legislation is really pretty radical.
At the top of the list of things they're not supposed to mess with when people are cautioned with the words "Don't Mess With Texas" is the slogan itself. As Manny Fernandez reports in the New York Times TXDOT, which holds the trademark on the phrase, has filed over 100 cease-and-desist letters since 2000 to companies making unauthorized use of "Don't Mess With Texas."
The history of the phrase—which was coined in 1985 as part of an antilittering campaign—has been well-documented, but TXDOT's determination to protect it ("to prevent 'Don't Mess With Texas' from losing its original antilittering message," according to state officials cited in Fernandez's story) is a bit surprising. The phrase has been widely used in other contexts by people from George W. Bush (who included it in his speech accepting to the Republican Presidential nomination in 2000) to Greg Abbott (who dropped it on Twitter earlier this month to congratulate two Dallas-area teenagers on helping stop a kidnapping), which presumably makes the stated goal of retaining the antilittering message a difficult task. Over at UrbanDictionary.com, a skirmish appears to have been waged surrounding that confusing context.
Of course, "Don't Mess With Texas" isn't the only unofficial state slogan to receive official protection: "Remember The Alamo" has been at the heart of similar legal battles in Texas, and a New York coffee shop ran afoul of "I ♥ NY" earlier this year. Still, just because TXDOT has its finger on the "cease-and-desist" button doesn't mean there isn't a plethora of unsanctioned "Don't Mess With Texas" merchandise running around out there.
The romance novel cited in Fernandez's report may have been required to change its name, but on Amazon, they're still selling it as Don't Mess With Texas.
In addition to George W. Bush and Greg Abbott, no less a Texas icon than Nolan Ryan has claimed the phrase, signing memorabilia with the words "Don't Mess With Texas" proudly beneath his signature.
Texas leads the nation in many things—unfortunately, not all of them good. Along with New York and Illinois, Texas is among the top three offenders when it comes to wrongful criminal convictions. The case of Michael Morton, in particular, has recently called attention to the mishandlings of justice that are all too common, and now Texas lawmakers are considering ways to buckle down on mistakes.
Texans love a good sale. The "tax-free weekend," or the three days before the start of every school year when most clothing and school supplies under $100 are free of sales tax, is a big shopping day for parents. Now it appears as though gun enthusiasts could get the same kind of shopping incentive.
Texas is notoriously averse to taxation. The state legislature hasn't voted on a tax increase since 1991, as Paul Burka notes in his piece about the "T-word." Some local governments have started getting creative to make ends meet. One example: a Houston suburb plans to tax drivers who are at fault in auto collisions.
Teenagers are notorious for fighting with their parents, but one Texas teen is suing her parents over an actual matter of life or death. A 16 year-old girl in Harris County who is nine weeks pregnant is suing her parents because she claims they want to force her to have an abortion.
In the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 27 people dead, lawmakers around the country are scrambling for ways to prevent gun violence in American schools. So too in Texas: whether it’s arming teachers or putting a cop outside of every classroom, Texas politicians have offered several ideas about how to keep schoolchildren safe.
Sitting at his regular table at Daddy Sam’s BBQ and Catfish (“You Kill It, I’ll Cook It”) in the East Texas town of Carthage, district attorney Danny Buck Davidson began to realize that he might have some problems prosecuting Be
I felt bad, at first, for the polygamists when the gun-toting state troopers and other law enforcement personnel busted into their Yearning for Zion compound, outside Eldorado, in early April. I felt bad when the officers tried using a “jaws of life” tool to wrench open the door of the sacred temple, and I felt especially bad when they carried away the children, some of whom were infants holding bottles.